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Sunday, May 29, 2022

A school project on Rwanda inspired one UF freshman to realize that she wanted to do something to help the world.

In an effort to apply humanitarian endeavors to the Gainesville community, Olivia Munizza, a microbiology major, and four other first-year students have established Honors Without Borders, an organization that aims to utilize students’ skills, talents and ambitions to help the world.

“We want to restore hope, alleviate suffering and do as much as we can,” said Munizza, the club president, “We just want to make a difference locally and globally.”

Club adviser Melissa Johnson started Honors Without Borders when she had the five students in her Introduction to Professional Development class last semester. She noticed that they all had a passion for humanitarian work and she wanted them to do something about it.

 “I got them all in the same room at the same time, and the club just kind of came together from there,” said Johnson, who also serves as the assistant director of the UF Honors Program.

Johnson thinks Honors Without Borders is fulfilling an involvement gap within the Honors Program. She said the organization will give students the opportunity to get involved and volunteer locally, while still keeping an international focus in mind.

The group is partnering with the Spread the Love Foundation, a program started by UF faculty member Liz Kazungu designed to donate a library of books to a Gandini Primary School in Gotani, Kenya. Honors Without Borders will also write letters to the students at the school, sharing with them the importance of education.

Honors Without Borders is currently recruiting new members and is only available to Honors students. However, Munizza said that the organization hopes to open itself up to all students next semester. Students interested in getting involved can check out the organization’s website, www.honors.ufl.edu/hwb.

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